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Kenya

Open Geo-Spatial Data for Development (KE0020)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Kenya Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Kenya Space Agency (KSA), ICT Authority (ICTA)

Support Institution(s): Other actors involved - government Office of the Deputy President, County Government of Vihiga Other actors involved - CSOs, private sector, working groups, Multilaterals etc Development Initiatives (DI), Institute of Public Finance Kenya (IPFK), International Budget Partnership (IBP), Strathmore University, Local Development Research Institute (LDRI), , East Africa Institute at the Aga Khan, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), ESRI, Group on Earth Observations (GEO), Digital Earth Africa (DEA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Automated Decision-Making, Digital Governance, E-Government, Environment and Climate, Health, Land Rights & Spatial Planning, Open Data, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Water and Sanitation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Kenya Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Commitment 3: Open Geo-Spatial Data for
Development
We will lower the barrier and increase access to geospatial data to support Health,
Disaster Management, Food and Nutrition Security.
Objective
Promote transparent and accountable use of Earth Observations and geo-spatial
information to enable academia, citizens, innovators and other data communities
harness its capability for use in the areas of health, agriculture, water, land-use planning
disaster management, environmental conservation and climate change.
Status quo
Analysis ready Earth Observations Data and information are currently not available or
accessible to data communities such as farmers, health workers, Arid first responders in
disaster. Such information is often available to the scientific communities or behind a
paywall.
Ambition
The initiative will help provide free access to analysis ready data in open standards,
including publishing and sharing algorithms for re-use, through the first ever Africa Open
Data Cube (ARDC) and other Scale Geo-spatial technologies and platforms. This will
enable innovators leverage on Earth Observations to create products that are more
context specific to cater for service gaps to farmers, policy makers, health workers in aid
of every day decision making and action.
Lead implementing Organization
Kenya Space Agency (KSA), ICT Authority (ICTA)
Contact Person:
Major Andrew Otieno Nyawade
Space Engineer,
Kenya Space Agency (KSA) at Ministry of Defence
Tel. 254721970543
Email: andrew.nyawade@gmail.com
Timeline
September 2018 to May 2020
OGP values
Access to information, Public accountability, Use of Technology
Page 22 of 30
New or ongoing commitment
New
Other actors involved - government
Office of the Deputy President, County Government of Vihiga
Other actors involved - CSOs, private sector, working groups, Multilaterals etc
Development Initiatives (DI), Institute of Public Finance Kenya (IPFK), International
Budget Partnership (IBP), Strathmore University, Local Development Research Institute
(LDRI), , East Africa Institute at the Aga Khan, Global Partnership for Sustainable
Development Data (GPSDD), ESRI, Group on Earth Observations (GEO), Digital Earth
Africa (DEA).
Verifiable and measurable milestones to
fulfil the commitment
New or
ongoing
Start date End date
10. Establish and sustain an appropriate
public-private cooperation platform on
Earth Observations and Geo-Spatial
Information
New January
2019
August
2020
11. Develop draft open geo-spatial data
guidelines and standards to ensure
interoperability and accessibility
New December
2018
August
2020
12. Improve access to open geospatial data
through the Africa Data Cube by working
with researchers, innovators, data
scientists to develop tools and share their
tools, knowledge and technology through
an open platform.
Ongoing December
2018
August
2020
13. Include geographical information of capital
projects in County budgets.
New June
2019
July
2020
14. Co-create targeted open geo-spatial/earth
observations applications to address the
Big 4 policy priorities through open calls
and challenges.
New January
2019
August
2020

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Open Geo –Spatial Data for Development

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“We will lower the barrier and increase access to geospatial data to support Health, Disaster Management, Food and Nutrition Security”

Objective

Promote transparent and accountable use of Earth Observations and geo-spatial information to enable academia, citizens, innovators and other data communities harness its capability for use in the areas of health, agriculture, water, land-use planning disaster management, environmental conservation and climate change.

Milestones

  1. Establish and sustain an appropriate public-private cooperation platform on Earth Observations and Geo-Spatial Information.
  2. Develop draft open geo-spatial data guidelines and standards to ensure interoperability and accessibility.
  3. Improve access to open geospatial data through the Africa Data Cube by working with researchers, innovators, data scientists to develop tools and share their tools, knowledge and technology through an open platform.
  4. Include geographical information of capital projects in County budgets.
  5. Co-create targeted open geo-spatial/earth observations applications to address the Big 4 policy priorities through open calls and challenges.

Start Date: September 2018

End Date: August 2020

Editorial note: This is a partial version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text see: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/KENYA_Action-Plan_2018-2020_0.pdf

Commitment Overview

Verifiability

OGP Value Relevance (as written)

Potential Impact

Completion

Did It Open Government?

Not specific enough to be verifiable

Specific enough to be verifiable

Access to Information

Civic Participation

Public Accountability

Technology & Innovation for Transparency & Accountability

None

Minor

Moderate

Transformative

Not Started

Limited

Substantial

Completed

Worsened

Did Not Change

Marginal

Major

Outstanding

1. Overall

X

X

X

X

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Context and Objectives

The production and use of geospatial data in the domains of health, food security and disaster management has greatly progressed over the years, with its value for decision making increasingly appreciated. [58] [59] [60] [61] [62] Policy development and implementation has suffered as a result of not exploiting these technologies. [63] Various steps have been taken to better integrate GIS data into development planning include the passing of legislation which requires that county governments develop ten year spatial plans that are to be integrated into County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP). [64] [65] [66] Kenya’s OGP commitments continue to extend these efforts, building on NAP II which had specifically aimed at opening up forestry and climate change datasets and geospatial information. NAP III in turn targets four additional areas namely: food and nutrition security, disaster management and health.

Kenya, through the Office of the Deputy President, is currently a champion of the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development. Various initiatives are therefore being undertaken in this regard, including participating in the Africa Regional Data Cube (ARDC). The ARDC allows for the capturing of high resolution imagery, remote processing and the production of analysis-ready outputs that lead to greater ease in the use of earth observation data. The ADRC was launched in Kenya in May 2018 and also adopted by four other African countries namely Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Senegal. [67] Various limitations of the cube were identified such as limitations to the number of users able to access the cube in a specific instance. A more robust system, Digital Earth Africa (DEA), [68] was therefore adopted that could handle even higher resolution imagery, house a wider array of data or datasets, and offer more flexibility and options for replicability. [69] DEA can be considered as the scaling up of the ARDC to the entire continent. Once ARDC and DEA are fully operational, the Kenya Space Agency will become a clearing house for geospatial data, directing it as necessary to other government agencies and other parties. This would lead to greater efficiencies especially in regard to coordination and avoiding the duplication of efforts. [70]

According to the current NAP, geospatial information is neither available nor accessible to specific data communities such as farmers, health workers and first responders. [71] The commitment therefore aims to enhance data accessibility in order to enable citizens to “harness its capability for use” in decision making and in closing ‘service gaps’. [72] In this regard, the working group on geospatial data is developing five use cases or case studies looking at the application of spatial technology to address challenges in agriculture, water quality and extent, urbanisation, forest cover and land degradation. The development of these cases studies are primarily led by government agencies such as the Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development and Public works; or the National Land Commission. Other agencies involved include the Council of Governors (CoG), UN Habitat; Food and Agriculture Organization and some private sector organisations. Local communities have been cast as consumers of these products. [73]

The commitment’s milestones are all verifiable. However, their specificity could be improved by mentioning the type of spatial dimensions that will be considered for each domain under consideration. The nature of the “public-private” cooperation could also be further clarified. Milestone eleven could also go further to clarify whether there will be the development of new standards or whether Kenya will adopt standards developed by International Standards Development Organizations for Geospatial Information such as the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). [74] The construction of milestone thirteen could also improve as it currently does not specify whether the information on capital projects will relate to all thematic areas mentioned (i.e. food, health and disaster management) or whether the scope will be narrower. How this will translate into utilization by local actors is also not explicated.

The commitment as framed reflects the OGP values of “access to information” and “using technology and innovation for openness and accountability”. The Africa Regional Data Cube as part of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Data will expand access to geospatial data on the domains outlined in Kenya’s Big 4 agenda and beyond. Milestone 12 and 13 also provide the government and other actors with the opportunity to engage in proactive disclosure of data. Importantly, the utilization of these platforms and data in question will be further enhanced through the open call and challenges laid out in milestone fourteen. In regard to “using technology and innovation for openness and accountability”, there are various advantages to developing open geo-spatial data guidelines: For instance the open nature of these data guidelines means that they are versatile and can be regularly updated in a cost effective manner, reduce or spread risk and are able to respond and adapt to emerging issues that prevail. [75] This approach would allow the government’s interoperability and accessibility challenges to be addressed in an open source community which is highly transparent among other advantages.

It is therefore envisioned that the commitment could have “minor” impact given its framing in the current NAP. There are some indications that the commitment presents further opportunities for collaboration and/or co-creation as outlined in milestones twelve and fourteen. Additionally, the very nature of platforms commonly used within this work such as GitHub or the ARDC itself, forces community members to interact, to share their knowledge and innovations, and allows for borrowing and replicability of the same elsewhere. [76]By all indications, the community that is now emerging from the commitment is a vibrant and thriving one. [77] However, more would be required in order to ensure utilization of this data by the target groups and communities outlined in the NAP. For instance, access to the cube is described as free, though it is not clear what hidden costs or barriers to access may be incurred in trying to access the cube in our context. As it is, an individual requiring access must be given the credentials to access the cube from an officer either with the Kenya Space Agency or the Geospatial and Data Division after going through a basic vetting process. [78]

In addition to this, the commitment does not outline how the data will be shared with policy and professional communities and citizens outside the technical scope of the initiative. Sentiments shared at a civil society meeting revealed that civil society actors did not greatly understand the commitment and were unable to articulate its value or potential. [79] One participant remarked that discussions around the commitment focused mainly on hardware in terms of the development of GIS infrastructure when the discussion needs to move towards the utility. [80] The milestones therefore appear to be constructive within specialised spaces rather than outlining steps that will be undertaken to ensure that citizens can use the data to participate in decision making. One may argue that the tools and knowledge products or outputs arising from milestones twelve and fourteen could be packaged for consumption by these communities. However, this is not assured and could have the potential to further alienate the communities in question if they are not enabled or empowered to consume and use what is made available. Work is already being undertaken in this regard by the Kenya Space Agency who has begun training mainly data communities in how to utilise the ARDC. These efforts should be incorporated in the NAPs design as they are an essential component in regard to utilisation of these platforms.

Secondly, while access to geospatial data may increase, the commitments impact is difficult to ascertain given that the NAP does not provide an adequate baseline i.e. the NAP neither outlines the breadth and volume of available data or its current relevance to the domains or sectors in question.

Thirdly, various reasons for limited access and uptake of GIS information in various jurisdictions have been documented including institutional barriers such as organizational culture; significant red tape when it comes to accessing government GIS data; limited technical capacity; or limitations of the data infrastructure (hardware and software) within government, as has been identified in many of Kenya’s counties. [81] [82] Geospatial data sets have also been described as lacking in volume, scope or diversity. For instance, one study indicates that universal coverage in Kenya is not the norm, and data exists mostly in the form of land parcel information and development maps that are mainly developed for urban areas. Additionally, most of these maps exist in hardcopy and not digital GIS format. [83] While milestones ten and thirteen aim to address some of these bottlenecks, challenges remain and have significant implications for the accomplishment of the goal as outlined. Lastly, while efforts to promote accountability, through the development of open geospatial data guidelines and standards, are commendable, the absence of a regulatory framework means that there may be no clear requirement for government to routinely produce or provide accessibility to this data according to the developed data standards.

Next steps

The commitment could be potentially impactful in the long run if it is able to bridge the gap between innovation and use by policy makers and local communities in order to address current service gaps and aid every day decision making. To this end, subsequent action plans should aim to address this gap as well as develop a policy framework and plan for sustainability. [84] The IRM researcher recommends that future commitments in this area consider:

  • Building the capacity of farmers, health workers and first responders, bureaucrats and civil society to understand and consume geospatial data. [85]
  • Developing a plan and strategy for reaching out to professional, policy and local communities that reside outside the technical scope of the initiative. This could include fora in which various actors discuss the confluence between GIS, Earth Observation data and a sector specific issue.
  • Linking user cases or cases studies to public participation processes.
  • Establish a regulatory framework for the production and use of geospatial data to address concerns around data sharing and data security as regards geospatial information. These would need to be harmonized with the Draft Spatial Planning Guidelines for Kenya (2017), Data Protection Bill (2018), Computer and Cyber Crime Act (2018) and Access to Information Act (2016). A national geospatial policy framework is also required to outline the governance structure and coordinating mechanisms around the spatial data initiative. [86]

[58] Robin T.A, Khan M.A, Kabir N, et al Rahaman, S.K., Karim,A., Mannan, I.I., George, J.,Rashid, I., (2019) Using spatial analysis and GIS to improve planning and resource allocation in a rural district of Bangladesh, BMJ Global Health 2019;4:5
[59] ICMA, ESRI (2018)A Guide For Smart Communities: Using GIS Technology for Local Government. Washington DC: International City/County Management Association Management https://icma.org/sites/default/files/18-137%20GIS%20e-Primer%20Report_final.pdf
[60] Mesgari, M.S., Masoomi, Z. (2008) World GIS Applications in Public Health as a Decision Making Support System and It’s Limitations. Iran Applied Sciences, 3 (1): 73-77, 2008 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/23a4/c0a45ea59dd554aa0daef9a106e37293e9b6.pdf
[61] Fradelos, E.C., Papathanasiou, I.V., Mitsi, D., Tsaras, K., Kleisiaris C.F., Kourkouta, L. (2014) Health Based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and their Applications. ACTA INFORM MED. 22(6): 402-405. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4315644/

Commitments

  1. Create public beneficial ownership register

    KE0024, 2020, Access to Information

  2. Implement e-government system adopting Open Contracting Data Standard

    KE0025, 2020, Access to Information

  3. Publish open data to spur innovation in public service delivery and development

    KE0026, 2020, Access to Information

  4. Increase efforts to promote public participation in the legislative process

    KE0027, 2020, Civic Space

  5. Apply County Peer Review Mechanism to improve public service delivery

    KE0028, 2020, E-Government

  6. Implement Access to Information Act

    KE0029, 2020, Access to Information

  7. Implement legislation to increase access to justice

    KE0030, 2020, Access to Justice

  8. Build institutional support of OGP

    KE0031, 2020, Capacity Building

  9. Beneficial Ownership

    KE0018, 2018, Access to Information

  10. Open Contracting

    KE0019, 2018, Access to Information

  11. Open Geo-Spatial Data for Development

    KE0020, 2018, Access to Information

  12. Public Participation

    KE0021, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. Governance Indices

    KE0022, 2018, Capacity Building

  14. Open Government Resiliency

    KE0023, 2018, Capacity Building

  15. More Transparent and Participatory Development of Climate Polices at the National and Subnational Level

    KE0010, 2016, Access to Information

  16. Enhancing Preventive and Punitive Mechanisms in the Fight Against Corruption and Unethical Practices

    KE0011, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  17. Enhance Transparency in the Legislative Process

    KE0012, 2016, E-Government

  18. Publish Oil and Gas Contracts

    KE0013, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  19. Starred commitment Ensure Greater Transparency Around Bids and Contracts

    KE0014, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  20. Create Transparent Public Procurement Process, Public Oversight of Expenditure and Ensure Value-For-Money Towards Citizen Priorities

    KE0015, 2016, Access to Information

  21. Improving Access to Government Budget Information and Creating Wider and More Inclusive Structures for Public Participation

    KE0016, 2016, E-Government

  22. Starred commitment Enhance Right to Information

    KE0017, 2016, Access to Information

  23. Starred commitment Improving Transparency in Electoral Processes: 1.A. Definition of Electoral Boundaries and Name.

    KE0001, 2012, Media & Telecommunications

  24. Improving Transparency in Electoral Processes: 2.B. Voting Information Online

    KE0002, 2012, Access to Information

  25. Promoting Public Participation: 1.B. End-To-End Service Delivery Portal

    KE0003, 2012, E-Government

  26. Promoting Public Participation: 1.D. Public Complaints Portal

    KE0004, 2012, E-Government

  27. Promoting Public Participation: 2.C. Kenya Action Plan Online

    KE0005, 2012, Public Participation

  28. Promoting Public Participation: 1.C. Open Data Portal

    KE0006, 2012, Access to Information

  29. Starred commitment Improving Transparency in the Judiciary: 2.A. Public Vetting of Judges and Case Allocation System

    KE0007, 2012, E-Government

  30. Open Budgets: 3.a. Improve Kenya's OBI Index

    KE0008, 2012, Fiscal Openness

  31. Open Budgets: 3.B. Increase Public Participation in Budgetary Processes

    KE0009, 2012, Access to Information

Open Government Partnership